The 5 best exercises for anyone with bad knees

Having to adjust your usual workout routine because of an injury or ageing knees? Sam Wood shares his tips for keeping fit while tailoring your exercise regime to this restriction.

To someone who has never had knee issues, it's amazing how often I hear from people that avoid starting an exercise program because they have “bad knees”. I think it’s important to acknowledge that bad knees could mean a number of things and in many cases proper diagnosis and physio prescribed rehab are needed.

However, what I'm discovering upon deeper questioning is that people with bad knees often are talking about deep squats and lunges causing discomfort, so here are five moves to help strengthen and stabilise without the pain.

Wall sits

Wall sits are an awesome way to put your glutes, quads, hamstrings and core to work, while building strength in your legs in areas that are critical to supporting your knees and joints. Just keep your knees bent at a 90-degree angle and hold with your back resting against a wall. Hold a plate or an added weight if you’re up for a challenge. Sounds simple – but totally deadly!

Hip raises with resistance bands

Grab some resistance bands to fire up your glutes with hip raises. Lying on the ground, place the resistance band just above your knees. With your feet firmly on the floor and knees bent, open your arms to support your body on the ground and lift and lower your hips in the air.

Half squats with resistance bands

Get that burn going while gently strengthening your knees with half squats. Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, grab the resistance band and place it just above your knees. With your toes facing slightly outwards, bend your knees and lower your hips halfway down and back, pressing your knees out to push against the resistance of the band. Steer clear of lowering into full squat position to protect your knees.

Seated knee raises with extension

Seated knee raises will gently engage and strengthen your quads, putting your knees under a bit of tension without inflicting too much-added stress. Take a seat on a chair with your feet firmly on the ground. Raise your legs off the ground in a controlled movement by squeezing your lower abs and lower your legs back down to your starting position.

Calf stretches

Our calves get incredibly tight in everyday life and too often we forget to properly stretch them out. Calf stretches are the best way to loosen your calves, relieve any shortening of your muscles and give your knee structure a bit of room to breathe. With your feet shoulder width apart, place your hands on a chair or wall. Keep your heels on the ground with your knees straight while you lean.

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